The genetic basis of emotional behaviour in mice.
Willis-Owen SA., Flint J.
The last decade has witnessed a steady expansion in the number of quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapped for complex phenotypes. However, despite this proliferation, the number of successfully cloned QTL has remained surprisingly low, and to a great extent limited to large effect loci. In this review, we follow the progress of one complex trait locus; a low magnitude moderator of murine emotionality identified some 10 years ago in a simple two-strain intercross, and successively resolved using a variety of crosses and fear-related phenotypes. These experiments have revealed a complex underlying genetic architecture, whereby genetic effects fractionate into several separable QTL with some evidence of phenotype specificity. Ultimately, we describe a method of assessing gene candidacy, and show that given sufficient access to genetic diversity and recombination, progression from QTL to gene can be achieved even for low magnitude genetic effects.